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March 2021

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About Poemography

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of my Poem-A-Day Project, I am reprising my daily poetry challenge in 2021.

Every day this year—from January 1st until the 31st of December—I will create a new poem inspired by whatever moves me at the moment I sit down to compose that day's poem, publishing them here with subscription-free access for all.  

Every Tuesday throughout the year, I will write and publish one bonus poem that will be available exclusively to my Patrons on Patreon.

In 2022, I will publish a book of my complete poems, spanning more than 40 years of poetry writing. The complete collection of poems will be published in a limited edition hardbound book available for purchase. As an added feature, I'm considering releasing some of the poems in this collection as spoken word recordings by a variety of special guest readers. Enjoy the year!

31MAR21

Robot (For B.B.)

 

I take comfort in knowing

That your eyes will read this

Something only few eyes will see

And even fewer will read the same way

How could we have been any different

We were sons of Germans and Jews

But had so much more in common

As we met on the schoolyard 

I would wait for you there

In that little brick crawlspace

Beneath the towering smokestack

You'd soon arrive in your thin blue parka

And in those joyful few minutes of recess

You would be my robot; taking orders

Walk straight, turn left, arms out

Moments worth remembering

30MAR21

McKenna

It's not the first time I've dreamed of you

Sitting there beneath that beautiful tree

Your mahogany hair and tawny eyes

Seducing me from the distance

I've often wondered what you

Were writing in that book; perhaps

Stories of those summer days in Tuscany

Or that tragic night when your father was killed

There is so much I blame myself for; If I hadn't

Gone out to sea that day with your brother

If we hadn't come upon that brutal storm

Or the bottle of bourbon below deck

He would have never revealed all of

The secrets he promised you he'd keep

And I never would have known about him

Who you loved and left to spend your life with me 

29MAR21

Tel Aviv

This is what happens when you wake up in
The middle of the night; when the full moon

Beams onto your sleepy face; you think things

Say things, write things about too many things

I've only ever been to Tel Aviv in my dreams

And in episodes of Rechov Sumsum where

Violinist Itzhak Perlman sits at an outdoor

Café reminiscing about growing up there

But what does that have to do with us?

About you or me or circumstances that

Neither of us could be responsible for

Or contemplate, or desire, or regret

 

I'll just go back to bed and hope that the

Morning will bring a lighthearted smile to

Your lips; and that you'll take these words

With kindness, charity, mirth and humor

28MAR21

Kolkata

Miles away and worlds apart

Your voice resonating clearly

Through time, space and sky

Dreamlike, ethereal, serene

With paramount concentration

I listen to the words you sing

Your breath speaking quietly

Revealing every sacred sound

Crossing the Vidyasagar Setu

Illuminated in the dark of night

Sitting beneath a banyan tree

In the old gardens at Shibpur

As you take my hand in yours

You hum a faint melodic tune

Something hauntingly familiar

From a lost childhood dream

27MAR21

What Happens Next

I'm not quite sure what happens next​

Perhaps it's the little stone house in the

Alpujarras, the one next to the icy-cold

Guadalfeo River I once dipped my feet in

 

Or a wooden chalet in some long-forgotten

Italian village where I can finally learn to

Build something with my own two hands

A chair or a box to save my memories in

Perhaps it might be a manorial apartment in

Valencia's casco antiguo near the central market

Decorated with crown moldings on high ceilings;

Slippery cold marble floors and casement windows

But I've been reminded that I'm no friend of the

Great outdoors, with its bugs and inconveniences

That I have three small children and a propensity

For creature comforts like warmth, food and shelter

26MAR21

Waiting in the Window

I used to wait for you in the window

For the bus to pull up to the stop

For you to get off of the bus

And walk to our house

And I waited for him

His shadow on the sidewalk

Walking home from Casey's Corner

After a long three-to-eleven shift at work

I sat in the window waiting there for hours

But you never arrived and never would

But I waited, day in and day out

Until I waited no more

But who waits for me

Perched in the window above?

Waiting with anticipation and zeal

That I should arrive home safe and sound

25MAR21

Sediment​ Sentiment

Life, like all things, is cyclical

I recently read that in every glass

Of drinking water exists particles that once

Passed through dinosaurs in the Mesozoic era

And I'm more often reminded of these cycles

At the bottom of my teacup or coffee mug

The surly dregs which accumulate there

Like the ones permeating society

Life is an ongoing process of

Swamp draining; of replacing the 

Old with the new; the decrepit residue

With fresh-smelling, pleasant-tasting newness

The ignorance and stupidity of the ages will one

Day be replaced with brilliant, sterling wisdom

While the sediment of today will waste away

To fertilize the promise of a better tomorrow 

24MAR21

The Tooth Fairy (For Delilah)

You came to me in the early morning all aglow

Gap-toothed, smiley-faced and dimple-cheeked

Delighted by the seven coins you discovered

The Tooth Fairy had left in Maxine's pillow

Like the Easter Bunny who will soon arrive

Hiding scrumptious chocolates for you to find

Or Sinterklaas filling your shoe with tiny treats

Your childhood replete with imaginary treasures

And of course there will come that fretful day

When you will come to realize it's all been a lie

But a fabrication not based in malice, but love

Love for the pure innocence of your child's heart

And like the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and old Sint

 I, too, will become a figment of your imagination

One day, in some faraway dreamland, I'll appear

And you will revel in knowing it was me all along

23MAR21

Morning Lilies

I can't imagine anything more beautiful

Than the sight of seeing you in the morning

Your first sleepy smile and the way you look at me

With all the love and tenderness I barely even deserve

I remember a time when we were nothing but strangers

It seems so long ago when yesterday was hopeless

Every breath reminded me the end lingered near

You came to me in my final moment of despair

I spent an entire lifetime desperate to find you

Not knowing you were standing beside me all along

You were the light that guided me through the darkness

The compassion that led me to salvation and inner peace

When I close my eyes for a moment of quiet contemplation

I see pictures of you floating in crystalline hallucinations

My heart beating so quickly it takes my breath away

 All that remains is to rejoice in the homecoming

22MAR21

Juniper

I couldn't quite place the smell

But it reminded me of you

And a time long passed

On some sandy beach

We were younger then

Hungry for adventure

Living every minute

Like it was the last

We'd wait for hours

Until the rain let up

And the river sang

Unhappy songs

 

And nakedness

Like nightfall

Bathed you

In mist 

21MAR21

Planting Seeds

Planting the first seeds of spring

Like a musical farmer of sorts

Wearing blue denim shorts

To play my guitar and sing

Every note a seed to bloom

Hoping to get the riff right

Keeping the groove tight

Inside the mixing room

My voice is much softer now

Fingertips are wearing thin

I know where I have been

How to take a final bow

What the harvest will bring

Will be seen in forty days

Hard work it alway pays

When you play and sing

20MAR21

Estelle B. Cooper

I had better things to do on Friday afternoons

Like going to the gym with the other patrol

Boys and girls to play dodge ball hoping

Not to get hit by Arthur Balourdos' missile

Mr. Lieberman looking on with his smug

Freddie Mercury overbite and mustache

Occasionally whispering secrets to other

Teachers popping their heads in to watch

Instead, I'd spend my Friday afternoons

Up on the second floor in the new wing

At the end of the hall sitting on a stiff old

Wooden chair in Estelle B. Cooper's office

She wanted to know why I seemed so sad

A nice boy, but troubled and disobedient

Talking in class, daydreaming and aloof 

All I wanted to do was play dodge ball

19MAR21

Candy

It shows how very alike we are

Two peas in a pod who end up

In different tins and saucepans

On different dining room tables

Two diminutive green round seeds

Insignificant on their own account

But joined together with other peas

Can provide significant sustenance

We've come to this a long year later

Neither of us man enough to matter

Wrapped up in candy wrapper skin

Bitterness and corrosion in our veins

But there is a small glimmer of hope

Though I can't see it, I know it's there

There when I sleep, there when I wake

A nightmare that never seems to end 

18MAR21

The Greatest Comfort

So, even after all these years

I still wake up in the middle

Of the night; make my way

Up creaky-knee stairs; into

 

Your little rooms where you

Sleep so peacefully in your

Little beds; the beauty with

Knees up; the weirdo with

Her blanket tsekneytsht on

The floor; and the sweetest

Little dimple-cheeked one

Dreaming sleepy dreams

 

To watch you there as you

Sleep; observing the rise

And fall of your breath is

The greatest comfort of all

17MAR21

Purpose

When you question everything 
Your purpose, significance
And the meaning of life
Only to find nothing

 

That you are void

Lacking any emotion

That even tears are remiss

Dreams once dreamed discarded

And you lie alone in an empty bed

With this big empty head

Where thoughts lived

Once, long ago

Ending as it does

With vain cries of woe

Longing and quiet despair

For everything and nothing that was

16MAR21

Zelda

I imagine you don't recall that day in Paris

Standing in a queue at the Musée d'Orsay

Holding cafeteria trays waiting impatiently 

Listening to that imbecilic American woman

We looked at each other with raised brows

Then smiles; getting the joke, feeling familiar

You spoke first, asked me where I was from

You were from Falmouth or was it Fall River

You asked if I wouldn't mind some company

We sat down and became better acquainted

Enjoyed a friendly chat over salads and tea

Told me about the fight with your boyfriend

You moved out of your hotel room in despair

Asked if I could help you find a cheap place

Said you could stay in my room for the night

I'm unsure if what happened next really did

15MAR21

A Mouthful of Teeth

I admit that I've called you names

Behind your back; not insults but

Observations; and only to myself

In private, softly, under my breath

It's mostly because you remind me

Of certain animal's characteristics

Horse face or the dog-faced boy

Duck-billed or snouted porcine lips

But please understand I mean no

Disrespect; blame it on my vivid

Imagination or my creative bent

(You do know I love you dearly)

Though it's your mouthful of teeth

I utterly adore; and your perfectly

Arched eye brows and your voice

Awfully mispronouncing my name

14MAR21

Back in the Saddle

There was a time when I was a much younger man

 When doing simple things bore simple pleasures 

My body an active and lively participant

My mind cognizant and capable

But getting back in the saddle

Has proven to be a delicate endeavor

Especially after such prolonged absences

The burden of age and deterioration so prevalent

Today I confronted the most penetrating of realities

When pain and discomfort rose to the surface

Like algae drifting along a murky lagoon

Fingers raw and voice a useless mutter​

There was an instant today when I thought to myself

Perhaps the time had come for me to step away

But passion and desire had the last word

Triumph shedding brutal tears of hope

13MAR21

Collaboration Blues

Came down with a bad case of collaboration blues

Like running a sad race run in Portuguese shoes

Coffee cups, swans and mechanical staircases

Printed signs and lines and faceless faces

  

The best shots for the whole world to see

Secondhand stuff was saved for me

Renato, he was right about you

Not a team player how true

Then Saturday came and went

Thinking of all the hours spent

Waiting around for your shot

And a turnstile was all I got

The true worth of a man is naught

If he can't learn the lessons taught

Immunized against those eye views

Cured my case of collaboration blues

12MAR21

Ups and Downs

There are days when even my

Body rejects the notion that I

Have shit to do; maybe not

The most important shit

Earth-shattering shit

But important nonetheless;

I work, I eat, I clean and in

My own mediocre father way

I try and spend time with

Some of my children, here

And there, or wherever they

May be; and I try calling my

Mother every day but somedays

That just doesn't work out; those are

The ups and downs of my life today

Mind, body, soul, spirit and laughter

11MAR21

Jogs the Memory

I always wanted to be a painter

And despite being unable to paint

And being colorblind for that matter

Becoming a painter wasn't very likely

Miss Eisen introduced us to art in fifth grade

Every week an new artist would be featured

Every week I'd attempt to copy some painting

Which I failed at in the most awe-inspiring ways

At twenty, I had an interminable desire to paint

Spent hundreds of dollars on a MABEF studio easel

Hundreds more on paints, brushes, knives and canvas

But nothing I did resembled the art locked inside of me

I eventually abandoned my painting aspirations

Kept the easel for years displaying random art on it

Still have some dried out tubes of acrylic stashed away

Disheartened by my ambition's thwarted artistic endeavors

10MAR21

The Coldest Night

It was supposed to be my night
Of spectacle and satisfaction 
Applause and curtain calls

The long-awaited debut

A final dress rehearsal

Stop for a bite of dinner

Home to shower and change

Then back to the theater by seven

I opened the door to my apartment

Was greeted by a burst of cold

How very strange, I thought

Back door was broken in

They took my Macintosh

Stereo and zayde's watch

The cash I had saved for rent

Left my Bose speakers, still around

09MAR21

The Weight of the World

Everyone has their limit; a breaking point

That very moment when reality sets in

The instant where it all becomes

Simply too much to take

It was clearly apparent

I knew there was something

Wrong the minute you sat down

The weight of the world on your shoulders

Your response took me totally by surprise

How very odd, I thought to myself

All those you'd place in peril

To prove a senseless point

Kids who depend on you

An ailing girlfriend in dire straits

And all the angst that misery brings

You made your point but lost my respect

08MAR21

Getting Around

Life is all about getting from point A to point B

Cradle to grave and everything in between

Every day arriving at a new destination

Coming, going, getting around

I've spent a decade in Holland

Two-wheeling here, there, everywhere

Bicycling in the wind, snow, hail and rain

Cycled to the North Sea and to Ikea in Delft

My first bike was a second-hand granny bike

Bought it for forty bucks and fixed it up

It got stolen from out front of the house

Taken for the baby seat I imagine

I bought a big blue cargo bike

To shlep the girls but they got too big

Now I ride a black three-speed hybrid

Gets me around and home safe and sound 

07MAR21

Sky's the Limit

It's not that I lack ambition or drive

Though I've been blamed on both accounts

I would say it's more about focus and prioritizing

About being satisfied by merely envisioning the outcome

There's about two hundred novels I've written in my mind

My hard drive ever-burgeoning with chapter ones

But the imagination is so very easily gratified 

After all, I already know how it ends

Back in L.A. all those years ago

I was the frontman in a new wave band

Wrote songs, played guitar, sang and got gigs

But never found the wherewithal to take things up a notch

But all that's going to change with my newfound audacity

They've been telling me for years age is just a number

Before the numbers start to cash themselves in

Sky's the limit on the new frontier 

06MAR21

Guilty Pleasures

I don't expect you to remember the first time

We were just kids, nine, maybe ten years old

You taught me how to climb the chain link fence

The one behind Michael Blacker's house on Francisco

We'd sit for hours on top of the slanted garage roof

Reading Mad Magazine and listening to Larry Lujack 

Tossing pebbles onto cars as they drove down the alley

Your sister would bring us cold bottles of Kayo and Buns

We laid there with the sun beating down on our faces

Talked about the future like it was a million years away

You told me that your father beat you with a belt one day

I told you mine disappeared but got a cool brand new one

Ten years later you came out to visit me in Scottsdale

You brought me a box of maple Buns and paid my rent

We slept together on my hide-a-bed, talked until dawn

Indulged in guilty pleasures and laughed until we cried

05MAR21

Shouting at Clouds

There will come a time when 

You will be nothing more than

A memory; a name, a face;

An image in a photograph

Just as unrecognizable as

I am to myself when I ask

The stranger in the mirror

Who he's looking at

 

I keep having this dream

Where I'm gazing out

Over the sea; a boat of

Fishermen sailing near

Waving their arms and

Shouting at the clouds

Pointing to the horizon

To a sun that never sets

04MAR21

This Moment

I play this morbid game with myself

Have done it for as long as I can recall

Where I look despairingly at old people

Knowing they won't be alive in fifty years

But I soon realize I won't be here either

When so many people I know will likely be

They'll live to see technological advancements

Unlike Jackie Gleason who never sent an email

I wonder if my children will travel to Mars

Or resurrect me if they were given the chance

Will their grandchildren ever know about me?

Read my poems and stories or listen to my songs?

 

All that is perfectly clear in this very moment

Is that I am living, breathing, mediocre and trite

Feebly disquieted and aware of my imperfections

And this disturbingly insatiable desire to live forever

03MAR21

It's Not What You Think

We sat across the crowded diner

She mumbled something in a smile

I looked at the maple syrup dispenser

Trying to distract myself from her flirtation

Breakfast arrived and I dove into the stack 

The pat of butter patiently melting away

Steam billowing off of scrambled eggs

And yes, the bacon was once a carrot 

Her friend arrived with two stale kisses

I had a jacket like that many years ago

A hunter green duffle coat from Lord&Taylor

It looked better on me than it did on that guy

Then he handed her an envelope and left

She walked over to my table and set it down

I opened it while she waited to see my reaction

I ate a toasted bagel as she turned and walked away

02MAR21

The Twelfth House

You didn't ask to be born into this world

But the sun has created another perfect being

Your primal scream hurtled across the universe

Dancing with silvery stardust and moonbeams

Your place in heaven has already been anointed

The ancestors await you with sweet fragrant fruits  

A ruby-studded crown to be placed upon your head

You will reign eternal upon a glistening golden throne

 

But today there is only decay amongst the ruins 

No gods or flying chariots to rescue you from harm

Only the protection of your mother's frail embrace

No sanctuary to offer you sustenance or salvation

And as you walk along the burning desert sand

Encountering those who could not bear the journey

A wellspring of hope bursts open up from your eyes

Quenching your thirst giving you strength to carry on

01MAR21

Life During Wartime

No one goes into this thing with an exit strategy

Or walks up to the altar with a partial game plan

And who would have ever contemplated a last kiss

A last stroll along the seashore or that final sunrise

While there's no such thing as the perfect anything

And certainly no crystal ball to gaze into the future

Some people appear destined to go the distance

Possessing that extraordinarily unique something

It was easy to see the qualities you saw in her

An intensely affable, feisty, olive-skinned beauty

With penetrating dark eyes and a forest-like calm

Rebellious and adventurous, yearning for paradise

Life during wartime begets only innocent prisoners

They say every battle won is someone's battle lost

When the moment comes to pick up and soldier on

No possessions matter more than those we never had